Last year, Mariott merged the three separate programs of Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and Ritz Carlton Rewards into a single unified program. More recently, they announced that the program was to be called Marriott Bonvoy, with the new name taking effect from February.
The Marriott Bonvoy Program
As with most loyalty programs, Marriott Bonvoy has two parts – rewards and recognition. Firstly, there is the Rewards side of the program, where you earn points and later use those points to redeem an award. Secondly, there is the recognition side of the program, where members are offered various perks and benefits, depending on their status within the program.
Let’s look at these two aspects. We’ll start with the recognition side and then look at the rewards side.
Marriott Bonvoy Recognition: elite membership tiers
Marriott has no less than 5 elite status tiers, together with three that can be achieved on a lifetime basis. The base tier is simply the ‘Member’ tier. For the elite tiers, the qualification criteria are shown in the following table.
|Level||Stays Per Year||Requirements (lifetime)|
|Silver Elite||10-24||250 nights + 5 years Elite Status|
|Gold Elite||25-49||400 nights + 7 years Gold Elite Status|
|Platinum Elite||50-74||600 nights +10 years Platinum Elite Status|
|Ambassador Elite||100 or more, plus US$20,000 spend||N/A|
Some things to keep in mind
There’s always a few caveats to keep in mind and some of the important ones if you are aiming for a status level are:
- Elite nights are earned when you make either cash or award stays. Cash bookings need to be made through an eligible channel.
- Elite nights are not earned when you book through some channels, such as online travel agencies.
At the entry-level, a Member is offered complimentary in-room Internet access, the ability to earn and redeem points in the program. In addition, depending on the hotel, members may be able to use the App to check-in or use their phone as a room key.
Silver Elite benefits
Once you step up to the silver level, you earn a bonus of 10% points on hotel stays. At the discretion of the hotel, you may also be eligible for a complimentary late check-out.
Gold Elite benefits
Once you attain Gold Elite level, the benefits go up a notch. For each stay, you will now earn an additional 25% Marriott Bonvoy points over the base earning. You will now have access to an ‘enhanced’ internet offering.
It is at the Gold Elite level where a couple of nice benefits come into play (and both are subject to availability). Firstly, you could be inline for a room upgrade, and you may also be able to stay in the room until 2 p.m. on the day you leave.
Platinum Elite Benefits
Platinum Elite sees the benefits going up a further notch. This is the level that lounge access and breakfast offerings can come into play.
Platinum Elite members receive a 50% bonus on their base points and an improved stake at upgrades.
Generally speaking, Platinum Elite members will have access to the hotel lounge, if they have one. There are a few exceptions to this, but for the most part, you will have access.
The breakfast offer is not so simple. The offering comes under the Welcome Gift option – and at some brands breakfast is not an option. Depending on the brand, the welcome gift may be points, or it may be a food and beverage credit. Even then, the option can vary by region – so it is something you will need to check for each hotel you plan to stay at. Generally speaking though, in Australia, breakfast is an option at the Aloft, Four Points, Sheraton, and Westin brands.
If space in your room is important, you’ll also be pleased to hear that Platinum Elite comes five ‘suite night awards’. These awards allow you to confirm your upgrade to a suite before you even step foot in the hotel.
Marriott Bonvoy Titanium Elite benefits
The Titanium Elite tier sees the points bonus move up to a 75% bonus on top of the base points. You’ll also get 10 ‘suite night awards’ – an additional 5 over the Platinum Elite offer.
Marriott Bonvoy Ambassador Elite benefits
If you make it to the top tier in Marriott Bonvoy, you’ll receive what Marriott refers to as Ambassador Service. This is a dedicated contact at Marriott HQ who will take care of your bookings, enquiries, and preferences.
Marriott Bonvoy Rewards: Earning and Burning Points
The base points earning in the Marriott Bonvoy program is 10 points per US Dollar charged to the room. There are some exceptions that start at a lower 5 points per dollar. The following table shows the earn rate (base points + status bonus) at each of the levels.
|Level||Earn Rate per dollar||Earn Rate per dollar
(Element, Residence Inn, and TownePlace Suites)
This does not include any promotional bonus or welcome amenity points that might apply to the stay.
So, you’ve earned the points, now what can you do with them? Some of the ways points can be used include
- Redeeming for hotel stays and upgrades
- Transfer to a partner program
- Travel packages
- Flights and car hire
- Exclusive events and experiences
Marriott Bonvoy arranges hotels into categories for the purposes of Award rooms. The higher the category, the higher the number of points required for a room. To find the category of a hotel of interest, Marriott has published a searchable table of the 6,700 hotels in the program.
Under an award booking, if you book a room for 5 nights or longer, the 5th night is free. As an example, the Westin Sydney is a Category 5 hotel, pricing at 35,000 points per night. Four nights is therefore 140,000 points. Thanks to the 5th-night free offer, you can get 5 nights for the same 140,000 points.
Marriott Bonvoy points can be transferred to a large range of airline partners, including both Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity. In most cases, the transfer ratio is 3 Marriott points to 1 airline point/mile. This can be increased by transferring 60,000 points, as Marriott will top up the transfer with an additional 5,000 points.
So, if you were to transfer 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to Qantas, you would receive 25,000 Qantas Points, rather than 20,000 Qantas Points.
In addition to redeeming points for award nights or for airline miles, Marriott will be running a Bonvoy Moments program.
The purpose of this is to give you access to events and experiences. These include things like backstage concert tickets, sports event tickets, and various other experiences. Depending on the experience, they may have fixed prices, or they may be set up as auctions. Either way, they may or may not represent good value.
The Marriott Bonvoy program is a bit of a complex beast, coming out of the merger of three separate programs. In this post, I have given a brief run across the top of the program, to get the basics out of the way. In future posts, I will take a look at Marriott Bonvoy Moments, and the subscription program Club Marriott.